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Willie
24-Apr-2017, 17:12
https://fstoppers.com/landscapes/beautiful-journey-shooting-8x10-film-death-valley-174163

This gentleman has done video logs of his 8x10 trip to Death Valley. A comedy of errors that mount up quickly as he spends time trying to work with the camera. Ends up with a damaged Ebony and a trashed Ritter out of it.

Worth watching, especially as he reviews the chromes he shot. How he goes about it and his editing of the images is interesting. Maybe he is distracted by trying to video what is happening. I have never seen anyone so careful be so hard on gear.

Main question I have after watching is how can anyone drive around Death Valley on the roads and trails and keep a vehicle so clean?

Thom Bennett
25-Apr-2017, 07:00
Ouch! Is that common practice for landscape photographers to leave their cameras set up overnight unattended? I do appreciate how carefully he watches the light and plans each shot.

ghostcount
25-Apr-2017, 08:22
. . . Is that common practice for landscape photographers to leave their cameras set up overnight unattended?. . .


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTd0wZULIIc

Thom Bennett
25-Apr-2017, 08:58
Ha!! Sorry, I don't have another 10 minutes to give this guy. He needs a video editor!

Thalmees
25-Apr-2017, 10:45
Hello Willie,
Thanks too much for presenting this great example of photographer.
Mr. Ben, is documenting the details behind photography, not his own photography only. Extra efforts by Ben.
Footnotes, that are genuine part of the photography pages, explaining what has been written above. Marvelous, saying the least.
Much of these issues and details are not of any level of concerns, and hardly being even considered by digital photographers. It's only one element of comparison between what is digital and what is photographic.
Wish he join this forum if not already a member.
Yes, most of what he do, is usually done by many(film) photographers in their trips. But documenting that is really an extra job toward others.
Car, food, camping, timing, safety, clever guessing/expecting, etc ...
Light observation, planning, studying weather, composing, planned waiting, correct time/place, etc ...
Thanks so much Mr. Ben Horne.
Of course, being honest and open to show us that big faults, is another positive from Ben.
I have my critique also around some details in his practice, but I find any critique is just silly beside the great positive message the videos deliver to any type of community, specially from a young artist photographer like Ben.
Do not know Ben personally, and did not watch more than tow videos by him in late 2016. Sent one to a local group of digital photographers to show how much effort, time and details behind making a single photograph, which can not be visible immediately!
Could not watch 10 videos today by this photographer, and not saying something fair about his experience and the kind willing to share others the details of making his art.
Thanks Willie for sharing.

letchhausen
25-Apr-2017, 12:23
Ha!! Sorry, I don't have another 10 minutes to give this guy. He needs a video editor!

Yeah, I usually get tired of some of the rambling and click out. I admire sincerity as much as the next guy, but between the 'golly gee you guys are great' and the over elaboration of the minutiae of the gear I rarely make it through. What he's doing photographically isn't that interesting other than from the typical landscape point of view (which I admittedly have zero interest in). But what is interesting is the younger generation's expertise (there's others like him) with branding and cross-pollinating via Instagram, social media, etc. I see a strong benefit in that in turning others on to the possibility of large format and slower methods of working.

David Schaller
25-Apr-2017, 14:02
Ouch! Is that common practice for landscape photographers to leave their cameras set up overnight unattended? I do appreciate how carefully he watches the light and plans each shot.
Okay, biting my tongue to not go overboard, but I would say no, for many reasons, but especially not up on a ridge of sand in Death Valley, with a dark cloth attached. I'll just leave it at that.

Two23
25-Apr-2017, 14:43
Sometimes when I'm waiting for a train in the middle of nowhere at night, I'll leave camera & flash set up for up to half an hour while I go buy a snack or something, but that's pretty rare. There is no way I'd leave an 8x10 Ebony sitting out unattended. Most of the cameras/lenses I've had damaged were damaged by wind blowing the tripod over.


Kent in SD

Jim Noel
25-Apr-2017, 15:12
An obvious neophyte in my favorite Valley. I have been going there for over 25 years and if we saw him we probably would laugh at the inexperience not only with the Valley,but his photographic equipment. I can't imagine anyone leaving a camera set up,incidentally on a weak tripod the legs of which were not spread enough for stability, and certainly not a second time. Any one who goes int the Valley and doesn't check in, and pay the small fee by the way, to get the latest weather info is leaving them-self open to all kinds of tragedy. The rangers are there for a reason and know their job well. I won't even discuss the attempts at photographing this beautiful place.

djhopscotch
25-Apr-2017, 16:26
Ben Horne has been documenting his yearly trips to Death Valley since 2011, and i don't get the assumption that he doesn't check in with rangers when he comes into the Valley.

He has always admitted that leaving the cameras over night would eventually bite him, this year it got him twice. His reasoning for leaving the camera in place is fairly simple: he wants to capture the morning light and it takes him a long time to set his composition so that if he were to try and get set up with the sun rising he would miss the light.

I guess for the crime of showing his process to those interesting in large format landscape photography he has to face the scorn of everyone who has never made a mistake in their life.

Peter Collins
25-Apr-2017, 17:19
I think the expression in psychology for Ben is "hands on learner," that is, one who learns mostly by getting in there and doing, rather than learning mainly by thinking, imagining, projecting.... However, as a result of this trip and camera destruction, I would offer that he is a "hands off learner"--he was far away from his equipment when the wind arrived.

And, those are really expensive cameras that he damaged! Is he rolling in dough and able to replace/repair without financial stress??

dentkimterry
25-Apr-2017, 18:43
I saw his destroyed Ritter 8x10 for sale on eBay. $688. What a shame!

Mark Sampson
25-Apr-2017, 18:52
djhopscotch, I've made more mistakes while doing landscape photography than I could ever count. Some as recently as a month ago.
But I haven't yet made videos of them and shared them with the world. No harm done, whatever you like, but if this guy ever discovers woodworking and power tools, I'm definitely keeping well away.

jp
25-Apr-2017, 19:00
It's easy to get a ton of screwups on video. Partly because they are common, partly because of the distraction of doing video and photography at the same time.

Jody_S
25-Apr-2017, 19:17
I've done 4 hr star trails in winter in Canada at 25 below, I assure you I didn't stand beside the camera for that period of time. In fact I set up 3 cameras, drove home, had a nap, then returned to fetch them. But hoarfrost and cold aren't the same as sand and wind, so I guess that's not really comparable.

tgtaylor
25-Apr-2017, 19:49
I doubt if the ARCA Cube is going to do everything he thinks it will. Surely he will have to close the camera to pack it back to the car and that will mean that the focus, tilts, swings,shifts, etc., will have to be redone when the camera is reset on the tripod. You could speed that process up by noting the extension and movements originally employed but obviously that would need to be verified.

Thomas

karl french
25-Apr-2017, 19:57
Just stop. Ben is a younger guy out there doing it. There is a lot of interesting content on his YouTube channel. He has a lot of viewers/subscribers. He is good for large format photography.

Threads like this just make me more depressed about the state of this forum.

tgtaylor
25-Apr-2017, 20:22
Far better (and cheaper) than the Cube would be a portable astronomy tent such as this one: http://store.smartastronomy.com/poobte.html Simply set the camera up inside the tent, close the fly, and wait for morning.

Thomas

Vaughn
27-Apr-2017, 19:47
Interesting guy and funding scheme. When I was in Death Valley last month photographing for two weeks, the only time I got up before dawn was to pee. I don't remember getting up that early to photograph at his age, or now, except on a few trips I've taken with other similarily disturbed photographers, and during a few workshops I have assisted for or given. The redwoods spoiled me -- best time is 10am to 2pm...very civilized. But then I totally enjoyed working with the mid-day sun in Death Valley, too.

Last time I took an all-night image while backpacking was a bit a disaster, too. It was too humid and below freezing (late Nov in the redwoods). Ended up with a soggy lens, but I found about an hour of sun that day so I could dry the lens out.

Great set of videos for his future kids to see someday.

angusparker
27-Apr-2017, 21:44
I'd echo Karl's comment. As a regular viewer of Ben's YouTube channel and consumer of his images, I'd say I've learned quite a bit from his videos, and his dogged persistence for getting the shot - whether that is early in the morning or returning to the same spot year after year. His images speak for themselves - and most in gorgeous Velvia. I think Ben's resent setbacks that he shared with the community are a public service!

Lachlan 717
27-Apr-2017, 22:53
Some of you need to pull your heads in.

Mr Horne is a member here. He doesn't need your condescending opinions aired here.

And, unlike many, many of us, his activities and video contributions will bring new LF users into our arena.

letchhausen
27-Apr-2017, 23:06
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLW2cxsj8Vw

RichardRitter
28-Apr-2017, 04:04
The camera is back up and working good as new.

The way the weight was attached to the tripod added to the damage of the camera. The weight turned the tripod into a catapult.

I would be replacing the shutter and depending on the focal length of the lens the lens too.

tgtaylor
28-Apr-2017, 10:27
Last time I took an all-night image while backpacking was a bit a disaster, too. It was too humid and below freezing (late Nov in the redwoods). Ended up with a soggy lens, but I found about an hour of sun that day so I could dry the lens out.

We astronomers use a dew zapper to keep the optics from fogging-up: http://www.telescope.com/Accessories/Adapters-Cables/Orion-Dew-Zapper-Pro-4-Channel-Prevention-System/c/3/sc/40/e/22.uts You can buy heating elements that will fit your lens. With a camera I would also use a "raincoat" to cover the body and lens.

Thomas

Larry the Sailor
3-May-2017, 05:36
Just stop. Ben is a younger guy out there doing it. There is a lot of interesting content on his YouTube channel. He has a lot of viewers/subscribers. He is good for large format photography.

Threads like this just make me more depressed about the state of this forum.

Agreed!
I'm a newbie in LF and I've spent a good bit of time watching his youtube stuff and several others, and have learned quite a bit.

Larry the Sailor
3-May-2017, 05:40
As an aside, while I can't imagine setting up expensive equipment like that and leaving it unattended I'm thinking a couple of tent stakes and guy lines would have gone a long way to prevent the disaster, if such would be permitted in Death Valley that is. Other less sensitive places I could see it being a useful thing.

Vaughn
3-May-2017, 08:40
We astronomers use a dew zapper to keep the optics from fogging-up:
Thomas

I was backpacking, so the extra weight would not have been fun -- but it was cold enough that I probably would have used it in my sleeping bag! When the temps dropped in the late afternoons, everything would get covered in moisture, then freeze. I am waiting for the water levels to drop to head back for some more photography...might be mid-June at this rate!

Ben Horne
3-May-2017, 11:01
I know that you can't please everyone, and that isn't my objective, but wow, tough crowd here. My goal with the videos is to share the actual honest experience of going on solo shooting trips and backpacking trips. They might not be everyones cup of tea, which is just fine. I have been shooting large format since 2009 and sharing the video journals since 2010, so I have been at this for a while now. My camera has spent more nights set in place than I can count, and it was only this year that I had a problem with it. Our winter storms in California were especially powerful. I knew something bad would happen sooner or later, and was willing to accept the consequences when it did. It is a calculated risk, not a matter of being uninformed. I wasn't mad when it happened, and the Ebony has since been repaired. Without leaving the camera overnight, some of my portfolio photos through the years wouldn't have been possible.

For those that think I must be rolling in money, that is incorrect. The income I earned from my photography just barely covered my expenses in 2016 (the cameras were broken in 2017). I am just a guy that loves putting in a lot of hard work to visit some pretty cool locations with an 8x10 on my back, hearing the click of the shutter, and telling the real honest story about my experiences in the field, both good and bad. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback these days on an internet forum, but it takes a lot more work to get out there, expose some film, and do what you love -- and that is my goal.

-Ben

Sal Santamaura
3-May-2017, 11:41
...wow, tough crowd here...It is easy to be an armchair quarterback these days on an internet forum, but it takes a lot more work to get out there, expose some film, and do what you love...Yes, there are a lot of critics here, but not all of us failed to appreciate your photography activities or video records of them. Thanks for sharing, as well as joining this forum. Please ignore the naysayers and come back often!


...the Ebony has since been repaired...If you don't mind saying, was the repair done by Hiromi, Richard Ritter or someone else?


...the actual honest experience of going on solo shooting trips...I'm likely twice your age. Despite living in southern California since 1978, my wife and I made our first visit to Death Valley last December. It was remarkably calm until the evening before we were scheduled to leave for home. Then all wind hell broke loose. I not only envy your solo trips, thereby avoiding spousal "be careful" admonitions for simply stepping off a trail, but am also jealous of your youth and equipment carrying ability. Welcome, and keep on keepin' on. :)

Peter Collins
3-May-2017, 12:18
Ben, more power to you! Thanks for your post above. Oftentimes a 'critical spirit' in oneself stems from jealosy, a need to feel superior, or both, or other needs that the critic has.

I saw your videos, and thank you. As to the damaged cameras, if it were I, I would be so sick when I saw them I might have puked. My reaction and concern for you was the terrific expense of repairing them.

Read the naysayers, consider whether there's any suggestions that are truly helpful, and apply a large discount to the rest. And keep on doing your camera work.

Ben Horne
3-May-2017, 13:53
Yes, there are a lot of critics here, but not all of us failed to appreciate your photography activities or video records of them. Thanks for sharing, as well as joining this forum. Please ignore the naysayers and come back often!


Thanks! Your comments are much appreciated. We are all in this together, and one of my goals is to get more people to shoot film so it stays around as long as possible. If we don't vote with our wallets and get more people into the large format community, who knows how long film availability will last.




If you don't mind saying, was the repair done by Hiromi, Richard Ritter or someone else?


The Ebony was repaired by a good friend of mine who is a very talented photographer and wood worker. It works as good as new, which is great. I have another friend who at one point had the exact same camera, and replaced the ground glass. He has since sold the camera, but still had the original ground glass, and he sent that to me to replace the broken ground glass on my camera.

The Ritter camera sustained substantial damage, and after about a month of reaching out to Richard, I still didn't hear back so I decided to cut my losses and sell it on Ebay. It is definitely repairable, but there were many parts that needed to be replaced. It was a very fun camera to setup, but was a bit difficult to switch between wide angle and normal/long lenses, and I had to tension it with some cord to keep it more stable in the wind. If I hadn't put cord on it that night, I'm pretty sure my Nikon 150mm SW would have ended up in the salt water.




I'm likely twice your age. Despite living in southern California since 1978, my wife and I made our first visit to Death Valley last December. It was remarkably calm until the evening before we were scheduled to leave for home. Then all wind hell broke loose. I not only envy your solo trips, thereby avoiding spousal "be careful" admonitions for simply stepping off a trail, but am also jealous of your youth and equipment carrying ability. Welcome, and keep on keepin' on. :)

Death Valley is a pretty awesome place. One could spend a lifetime exploring that park, and over the 8 consecutive years I've visited, I've definitely seen a pretty wild range of conditions. Back in 2015 I had to have my 4Runner's windshield replaced because of a dust storm that pitted it. I've learned to stake down my tent a special way, and put rocks on top of the stakes, flip my sleeping back upside down during the day (so it doesn't fill with fine dust), and now I have more stuff to keep in mind with the camera gear. I put out a video a little while back putting peoples suggestions to the test for the best way to hold down a camera in the wind. Many of the things people swore were better than a weight bag ended up being about the same. Pretty crazy stuff. I just got back from a backpacking trip to a Canyon I haven't visited before, so I look forward to sharing those videos in the next couple weeks. :-)

Ben Horne
3-May-2017, 13:54
Ben, more power to you! Thanks for your post above. Oftentimes a 'critical spirit' in oneself stems from jealosy, a need to feel superior, or both, or other needs that the critic has.

I saw your videos, and thank you. As to the damaged cameras, if it were I, I would be so sick when I saw them I might have puked. My reaction and concern for you was the terrific expense of repairing them.

Read the naysayers, consider whether there's any suggestions that are truly helpful, and apply a large discount to the rest. And keep on doing your camera work.

Thanks Peter!

Vaughn
3-May-2017, 15:47
I went on many photo trips with a friend who had the same light-weight 4x5 as I do. He carried his on the tripod over his shoulder, and while risky, he explained that by having the camera ready-to-shoot, he might be able to make an image (that he otherwise would have missed) that was worth more than his camera. An excellent point, and I do it a bit myself with 4x5 and 5x7. 8x10 is too bulky for me so it stays in the pack until I set the tripod up. And I take a little more care when I am out on an extended trip without possible camera replacement.

When the image (or series of images) is possibly worth more than the camera/lens, on the tripod and over the shoulder, or left out over-night, can be a worthwhile risk. Somewhere along the line many of us have risked more than just camera gear to be there. (bodies, souls, marriages, bank accounts, etc).
:cool:

Jim Becia
3-May-2017, 17:01
I know that you can't please everyone, and that isn't my objective, but wow, tough crowd here. My goal with the videos is to share the actual honest experience of going on solo shooting trips and backpacking trips. They might not be everyones cup of tea, which is just fine. I have been shooting large format since 2009 and sharing the video journals since 2010, so I have been at this for a while now. My camera has spent more nights set in place than I can count, and it was only this year that I had a problem with it. Our winter storms in California were especially powerful. I knew something bad would happen sooner or later, and was willing to accept the consequences when it did. It is a calculated risk, not a matter of being uninformed. I wasn't mad when it happened, and the Ebony has since been repaired. Without leaving the camera overnight, some of my portfolio photos through the years wouldn't have been possible.

For those that think I must be rolling in money, that is incorrect. The income I earned from my photography just barely covered my expenses in 2016 (the cameras were broken in 2017). I am just a guy that loves putting in a lot of hard work to visit some pretty cool locations with an 8x10 on my back, hearing the click of the shutter, and telling the real honest story about my experiences in the field, both good and bad. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback these days on an internet forum, but it takes a lot more work to get out there, expose some film, and do what you love -- and that is my goal.

-Ben

Ben,

Classy response. Having seen some of your results from these overnight setups, it has worked out well for you in terms of getting the shot. I have left my Ebony 8x10 overnight for one shot, but it was just outside my van and in easy reach if the wind had picked up.

For those who have not had a chance to watch Ben's videos, take some time to do so. Ben has a passion for large format photography that few can equal.

Keep up the good work!

peter schrager
4-May-2017, 08:13
Ben I've watched your videos and appreciate what you are doing. I've only done LF for some 40 years now and I'm still learning
Death Valley aint no easy place to go and photgraph. I'm here in los angeles if you ever care to meet up.
have a great day everyone!
peter

Peter Collins
4-May-2017, 08:41
+1 Jim Becia!

agregov
4-May-2017, 08:47
Speaking of tips, Ben have you ever thought of adding B&W to your shooting? It's one of the advantages of shooting with film holders, trivial to swap between color and monochromatic. If budget ever permits, I'd recommend taking a workshop from Michael Smith/Paula Chamlee. They're both master 8x10 shooters and their printing technique for making silver chloride contact prints would fit nicely with your focus in making high quality images. They also spend lots of time on composition and a detailed portfolio review. They might even be open to you making some video of their facility for your YouTube channel. I attended last year and it was great. More info. here FYI:

http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/html/calendar_details.php?Vision-Technique-Workshop---Bucks-County-PA-2017-June-2-4-10

If you ever need a pad in Seattle, feel free to PM me. Have a full color and B&W darkroom. Also, know a number of LF shooters here to meet up with. Cheers.

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 07:50
I went on many photo trips with a friend who had the same light-weight 4x5 as I do. He carried his on the tripod over his shoulder, and while risky, he explained that by having the camera ready-to-shoot, he might be able to make an image (that he otherwise would have missed) that was worth more than his camera. An excellent point, and I do it a bit myself with 4x5 and 5x7. 8x10 is too bulky for me so it stays in the pack until I set the tripod up. And I take a little more care when I am out on an extended trip without possible camera replacement.

When the image (or series of images) is possibly worth more than the camera/lens, on the tripod and over the shoulder, or left out over-night, can be a worthwhile risk. Somewhere along the line many of us have risked more than just camera gear to be there. (bodies, souls, marriages, bank accounts, etc).
:cool:

Let's face it, LF cameras are just light proof boxes. The images on the other hand can be worth far more. When people baby their gear too much and never take risks, I think that might be reflected in their work. Camera are just tools, and tools can be repaired or replaced. :cool:

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 07:52
Ben I've watched your videos and appreciate what you are doing. I've only done LF for some 40 years now and I'm still learning
Death Valley aint no easy place to go and photgraph. I'm here in los angeles if you ever care to meet up.
have a great day everyone!
peter


Thanks Peter! Death Valley is a pretty awesome place. I look forward to heading back there next year.

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 07:53
Ben,

Classy response. Having seen some of your results from these overnight setups, it has worked out well for you in terms of getting the shot. I have left my Ebony 8x10 overnight for one shot, but it was just outside my van and in easy reach if the wind had picked up.

For those who have not had a chance to watch Ben's videos, take some time to do so. Ben has a passion for large format photography that few can equal.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks Jim! I look forward to seeing the photos you got from your Spring trip!

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 08:00
I doubt if the ARCA Cube is going to do everything he thinks it will. Surely he will have to close the camera to pack it back to the car and that will mean that the focus, tilts, swings,shifts, etc., will have to be redone when the camera is reset on the tripod. You could speed that process up by noting the extension and movements originally employed but obviously that would need to be verified.

Thomas

I used the Arca Cube on my recent Spring trip and it works very well. Now that I have a quick release, I can simply take the camera off the tripod, put it in a plastic bag to protect it from rain/sand, and lay it on the ground next to my tripod, or put it on my flattened video tripod. The whole point of taking the camera off the tripod was to leave it in the exact shooting position, so I certainly wouldn't fold it and lose my focus and other settings.

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 08:02
I'd echo Karl's comment. As a regular viewer of Ben's YouTube channel and consumer of his images, I'd say I've learned quite a bit from his videos, and his dogged persistence for getting the shot - whether that is early in the morning or returning to the same spot year after year. His images speak for themselves - and most in gorgeous Velvia. I think Ben's resent setbacks that he shared with the community are a public service!

Thanks Angus!!

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 08:04
Ha!! Sorry, I don't have another 10 minutes to give this guy. He needs a video editor!

Sometimes my cat handles the video editing. Sorry it isn't to your taste. :p

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 08:20
Yeah, I usually get tired of some of the rambling and click out. I admire sincerity as much as the next guy, but between the 'golly gee you guys are great' and the over elaboration of the minutiae of the gear I rarely make it through. What he's doing photographically isn't that interesting other than from the typical landscape point of view (which I admittedly have zero interest in). But what is interesting is the younger generation's expertise (there's others like him) with branding and cross-pollinating via Instagram, social media, etc. I see a strong benefit in that in turning others on to the possibility of large format and slower methods of working.

If you try to please everyone, you will please no one. I know the videos aren't for everyone, and that is just fine with me. I treat the videos in the field very much the same as a written journal. If you pick up someone else's written journal, you may not think that every page is the most exciting thing -- and that the person might have a tendency to ramble on a bit, but it is something that is very personal that I am sharing with the world. The whole point of the video journals is to tell the honest experience of going on solo trips. The good, the bad, the thought process involved, and the final results. It's perfectly fine if you don't find my photography all that interesting and that you have zero interest in it, but it is certainly my passion. It is something I spend a lot of time, sweat, and money on because I love it. I don't do this for other people, and I don't seek to please other people, I do it for myself because I enjoy it. One of the things I've noticed through the years is that other people have seen my enthusiasm, and they too have started to shoot large format. That is one of my goals, to get more people interested in LF so the film supply will remain. As you have noted, that is why it is important to be active on social media, and in some cases we are starting to see some traction.

Ben Horne
5-May-2017, 08:45
An obvious neophyte in my favorite Valley. I have been going there for over 25 years and if we saw him we probably would laugh at the inexperience not only with the Valley,but his photographic equipment. I can't imagine anyone leaving a camera set up,incidentally on a weak tripod the legs of which were not spread enough for stability, and certainly not a second time. Any one who goes int the Valley and doesn't check in, and pay the small fee by the way, to get the latest weather info is leaving them-self open to all kinds of tragedy. The rangers are there for a reason and know their job well. I won't even discuss the attempts at photographing this beautiful place.

I've been going to Death Valley every year since 2009 Jim, and my camera has spent more nights out than I can count. It has spent dozens of nights out in the field without a problem. All of the photos in the "Salt & Sand" section of my site were the result of the camera spending the night out and I have always been willing to accept the consequences. I've been to many places in the park that few people ever go to, or even known about, but it is comforting to know that an obvious neophyte that is inexperienced with not only the valley, but also my photographic equipment might catch a break one day and get beyond my neophyte status. :cool:

Vaughn
5-May-2017, 10:11
I imagine I have been laughed at in Death Valley. The ravens especially laugh behind my back -- I can hear them back there. Hiking solo in the Grand Canyon the ravens were odd company! But I have had my chuckles, too. I was 4 miles out on the road to the Devils Racecourse in my Eurovan until I found a nice place to camp. I had nasty back spasms that night and was in no shape to carry the 8x10 around, so I spent the whole day (and night) relaxing, drinking beer and watching the light change.

And I was very entertained by the vehicles going by, I could see their dust as they hit the dirt road 4 miles below. A couple of rented sedans filled with foreigners who had no business being on that road bumped and rattled by. Several colorful rent-a-jeeps from Furnace Creek (mostly Asians touring the Great American West and having the time of their lives), and a group of nine fully decked out jeeps traveling fast and close, eating each others' dust for fun. They stopped about two miles below me, took a group photo of their vehicles nicely lined up along the dirt road before hitting the pavement at Ubehebe Crater. Occassionally, a Toyota FJ Cruiser carefully driven would go by...dotcom people from the Bay Area was my guess. And one night a rented vehicle driven by a middle age man and a much younger woman stopped at my camp -- the man complaining that they had given him a damaged truck (street type). Actually, his right rear tire had picked up a big rock and it bounced in the wheel well above the tire for awhile, ripping everything there up, including some pipes I have no idea what they were for. They were low on coolant, but refused my offer of water. They said the manual warned that adding just water would throw the calibration of the temp gauge off, over-heat the engine and could cause an engine fire. I didn't argue and they went off, stopping every time the engine over-heating warning light came on.

A ranger stopped by mid-morning and we had a nice chat. I asked and he said he had 6 calls for disabled vehicles already. He was on his way patrolling out to the racecourse, doing a loop. He was a graphic design major in college and had a good time looking through the 8x10 I had set up. I showed him a few carbon prints and platinum prints. Which I also did when two Japanese college students stopped by and visited the strange old white-bearded man parked in the middle of nowhere.

But 98% of the time the only sound was that of the wind and ravens...and an uninterrupted vista of 8 to 15 miles to the mountains defining the eastern edge of upper Death Valley. And when I was photographing, generally there was no one around. Quite nice.

Alan Gales
10-May-2017, 11:37
If you try to please everyone, you will please no one. I know the videos aren't for everyone, and that is just fine with me. I treat the videos in the field very much the same as a written journal. If you pick up someone else's written journal, you may not think that every page is the most exciting thing -- and that the person might have a tendency to ramble on a bit, but it is something that is very personal that I am sharing with the world. The whole point of the video journals is to tell the honest experience of going on solo trips. The good, the bad, the thought process involved, and the final results. It's perfectly fine if you don't find my photography all that interesting and that you have zero interest in it, but it is certainly my passion. It is something I spend a lot of time, sweat, and money on because I love it. I don't do this for other people, and I don't seek to please other people, I do it for myself because I enjoy it. One of the things I've noticed through the years is that other people have seen my enthusiasm, and they too have started to shoot large format. That is one of my goals, to get more people interested in LF so the film supply will remain. As you have noted, that is why it is important to be active on social media, and in some cases we are starting to see some traction.

Hello Ben,

I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your videos. They were not professionally edited but that helped make them honest and real. Keep up your enthusiasm. It's contagious! :)

Alan

Peter Collins
10-May-2017, 16:48
Alan Gales +1

Butsu
10-May-2017, 17:25
I am a fan of Mr. Horne's Video logs. I have watched probably 50 or so. I shoot 4x5 and when I need some inspiration, I turn to his videos. Why? Because he has a clarity of purpose and a zen quality to his process. He doesn't force a picture, but scouts, sets up, waits and still might walk away empty-handed. It appears he take few photos on any given trip but he 'keeper' rate is staggering.

In some ways, he is an anti-American photographer who flows with nature's rhythm and eschews quantity as a measure of his seriousness. He doesn't have any short-tempered arrogance so many other photographers seem to have. He uses his pride as leanring tools for the rest of us and for someone like me who is a hack LF photographer, seeing his mind-blowing photos come out of his sometimes messy process is incredibly supportive.

Many props to you, Ben. I suspect the haters are those who fancy themselves competitors somehow.

Thom Bennett
11-May-2017, 07:39
Sometimes my cat handles the video editing. Sorry it isn't to your taste. :p

Didn't mean to imply that they were not to my taste. In fact, I spent quite a few hours over the course of a few days roaming around through your videos as I have not had the pleasure of photographing out West and am fascinated by those that do. Such a unique landscape. I guess in this day and age we want everything succinct and to the point which, I realize, is a contradiction in terms for those of us who shoot large format. As I said in my original post, "I do appreciate how carefully he watches the light and plans each shot." That, to me, is the sign of a true photographer. Keep up the good work and maybe give that cat a raise. You're working that poor kitty too hard! :)